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Monday, September 5, 2011

2018--one anothers

2018—the “one another”s

            My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.   In other commentaries, I have covered that, at its simplest, according to scripture and not extrabiblical tradition, church is where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name,  and He is there with them as Head of the Church to be the leader of the gathering.  Unlike the pagan beliefs around the early church geographically, the church didn’t meet for worship, because worship was how one lived one’s life.  The word “church”, to the early church, meant something closer to our modern word “group” or phrase “town meeting.”  There was no set time or place. In fact, Acts tells us that the early church met daily.  The church is God’s family, and being family isn’t, or at least shouldn’t, be something we grudgingly force into our schedule.  Given that, what was the church to do, if it wasn’t some type of worship ritual?  There are 59 commands in scripture on how we, the church, are to behave with “one another”.  The church is about being, not doing.  Some commands are repeated.  15 of those times we are told to love one another, plus, also to spur one another on to love and good deeds, and to make your love increase and overflow for each other.  4 times we are told to greet one another.  4 times we are told to encourage each other. Twice we are told to forgive each other.  We are also told to: be at peace with one another, wash one another’s feet, be devoted to one another in brotherly love, honor one another in brotherly love, live in harmony with one another, accept one another, instruct one another, have equal concern for each other, serve one another in love, and that each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.  Also: carry each other’s burdens, to be patient, bearing with one another in love, be kind and compassionate to one another, to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, in humility consider others better than yourselves, bear with each other, teach and admonish one another, confess your sins to each other, build up each other, pray for each other, live in harmony with one another, offer hospitality to one another without grumbling, and clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, and speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  On the side of warning, we are told: if you keep on biting and devouring each other you will be destroyed by each other, let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other, stop passing judgment on one another, do not slander one another, don’t grumble against each other, don’t lie to each other. We are also told, When you come together to eat, wait for each other—this is not an instruction on our modern communion ceremony, because this was talking about eating a real meal and how we commune with God and each other in the natural course of talking to each other during the meal, which is what Jesus is talking about in 1 Corinthians 11.

            Now, might I point out that human leadership cannot force you to do any of that stuff in spirit and truth.  If one is a believer in Jesus, you want to.  If one isn’t, no one can force you to, and in one’s heart, one does not want to do so consistently, especially when it hurts—either in body or hurts your ego, and it will.  If one wishes to and fails, the Spirit of Holiness can speak to one far more insightfully than any other person.
            One could say that I have just quoted a bunch of scriptures out of context. That is true; when one looks up the context, many of these statements stand on their own, while there are a few which demand studying the passage to gain exactly what God wished to communicate to us through the statement. That is why each believer should desire not to just read scripture, but to study it. If one is a new believer, connect oneself to people who are mature believers who are open to giving honest answers to honest questions and teach others how to study the scriptures.  Every person who is a mature believer once was a new believer.

 You can reach me at or 757-735-xxxx.  I said an awful lot here, and no one could have caught it all at one hearing, so you can see a transcript of what I just said, along with other references for study, at my blog,, on the entry dated September 5, 2011. You can find out more about persons wishing to live the church in an organic manner in this area at

            I found this list from , which, in turn attributes this list to Carl F. George, Prepare Your Church for the Future (Tarrytown: Revell, 1991), p. 129-131.  The pdf will have references to where in scripture each of the instances appears.  It is more common to say that there are 58 one another scriptures; my guess is that George includes 1 Peter 4:10, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others”, which has “one” and “others” in different parts of the sentence used in a way that is like the words “one another” being beside each other.

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